By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
LOUISVILLE — Many may remember Matt Root as a standout for the Covington High School basketball team in the late 1980s.
What you might not know is Root has been helping high school athletes for more than 20 years as an athletic trainer in the Canton area.
Root was recently honored at the OHSAA state basketball tournament as the Ohio Athletic Trainers Association Athletic Trainer of the Year.
“I was very humbled,” Root, who has worked at the Aultman Health Foundation in Canton for 22 years, said. “To be honored by my peers and be voted on by the board. It was a tremendous honor.”
Those in Covington probably remember Root as a standout guard, who along with Lane Evans, led Covington to a 17-7 season and sectional title during the 1987-88 season.
During that season, Root was named team MVP, all-conference and played in the District 9 All-Star game. He was also playing when the 3-point shot was first used in high school basketball and took full advantage of it.
When he his high school career was complete, Root knew he wanted to stay involved in athletics in some way.
“I was interested in science,” Root said. “Jeff Schultz (former athletic trainer and current assistant principal at Troy) from Newton was at Bowling Green. He invited me to come up there one weekend and here we are 22 years later.”
Root is graduate of Mount Union College (AT, ATC)
He is currently the coordinator of Aultman Sports Medicine and North Therapy Services and lives in nearby Louisville, Ohio.
“We oversee the athletic training for nine schools in the area,” Root said. “One of those is Canton City schools.”
Which has given Root the opportunity to work at the OHSAA state football championships played in Canton and Massillon.
They are moving to Columbus next year for two years.
“That is coming to an end — at least for a couple years,” Root said. “We are located right next to Fawcett Stadium (where half of the state championship games are played). Of course, the event is an attraction.
“But, as soon as you are there, it is about helping the kids.
“It is kind of a catch 22 (because you are helping athletes who are injured). It is definitely very rewarding (to be able to help them.”
Root and his wife Shelley have three children — Sidney, Karlee and Zach.